Hundreds sign petition in support of Bangor business

Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 5:20 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - More than 800 people have signed their name to an online petition in support of G-Force Entertainment at the Bangor Mall.

The owner says he’s facing unfair hurdles to keep his business going. The City says they just need him to comply with local ordinances.

G-Force Entertainment opened about a year and a half ago in the Bangor Mall with the hopes of giving kids and adults in the area something to do.

But CEO Brain Plavnick says doing business in Bangor hasn’t been easy.

“From the beginning, we’ve had lots of hurdles we had to jump over. Basically, every step of the way, as we completed something, they would give us a curveball,” Plavnick said.

Plavnick says the latest “curveball” came after a recent incident in the parking lot between G-Force and another restaurant, when someone fired a gun.

There were no reports of injury.

Plavnick says he believes that event prompted a state official to look into the business.

“He did some digging, and he found we didn’t have our Bangor entertainment license,” Plavnick said.

When asked to comment, Bangor City Manager Debbie Laurie provided TV5 with a statement that reads:

“If a business has a State of Maine liquor license and is offering live entertainment they are required to have a special amusement permit. A City staff member saw [an] ad regarding live entertainment offerings at G-Force. Once it was determined that the business did not have a special amusement permit as required by State law and local Ordinance, the appropriate City department followed up to explain the requirements. The owners have now submitted an application to be issued a special amusement permit and that is the item that will be on the City Council agenda Monday night. Again the permit application that will be reviewed Monday only applies to live entertainment on premise. It does not impact any of the existing licenses in place which allows the establishment to operate as it currently is. "

While Plavnick admits he should have applied for the permit earlier, he claims he wasn’t aware of the requirement. He has since applied and a public hearing on the application is scheduled for Monday night.

In the meantime, Plavnick says he’s had to cut back hours and cancel events, resulting in a lot of lost money.

“The town attorney told us that if anybody so much as dances in our space we would get a $500 fine,” Plavnick said.

Plavnick says he considered quitting and closing down, but the petition made him realize how many people find value in his work. Now he’s vowing to push forward.

“When I saw that and I saw support from people who have been here, I’m like, okay, maybe we’ll try to tough it out and make it work if they vote yes. But even if they vote yes, they’ll have destroyed more than they know,” Plavnick said.

The public hearing on G-Force’s application for a special amusement license will take place during Monday’s City Council meeting.

That’s scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall. There are options to attend virtually as well.